Fred Astaire had just done an audition and he asked his then girlfriend to give him some “feedback”. She was very complimentary and enthused,”I was so enchanted and enthralled by your total mastery of the stage and your dancing is utterly sublime and you look like a god up, there.” She thought a bit and then said, “your lips seemed a little thin. And that whole thing you did with the chair was just incredible – you make it look effortless – you are amazing!”
Astaire: “Thin lips, hey?”
And are we not all just the same? We get feedback every week – generally and most often everything is in the “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” column and we just breeze over those. Suddenly last week, someone ticked the “Not Sure” column when asked if I had made him work hard. It’s been roiling and seething in me ever since.
Truth of the matter is he was required to put together and present a fairly challenging presentation. This was at his request, as he is going to attempt an MBA in September and “I need speak well in thees”. He put in about 20 minutes work the entire week and as a result did an appalling presentation. The only reasonable bit was the one slide he managed to create, which in all honesty, I micro-managed him through. The feedback HE got from his colleagues wasn’t terrific – didn’t understand him, much of what he said was lost on them, not enough detail, not enough information etc etc and he couldn’t answer any questions save saying, “I didn’t consider that aspect.”
Now it’s MY fault? Apparently when his tutor asked him about how he had prepared for the presentation, he said my class was “a nightmare”. I guess learner autonomy isn’t for everyone. I wish him all the luck in the world for his MBA and I’m getting used to being “a nightmare.” Might come in handy.